AUSSIE LEADERS SHOULD LEARN SOME HUMILITY, SAYS MALAYSIAN PM
BANGKOK - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said he was not to blame for the thorny relationship he has had with Australian leaders, adding that they should learn 'some humility'.
Asked to comment on his bad relationship with successive Australian leaders, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir said: 'It's not because of me. There is a fondness among leaders of Australia to make nasty comments like calling me recalcitrant.
'And John Howard did the same thing repeatedly, even casting aspersions on our judicial system as if we do not understand law, fair deals and justice,' he added, referring to the Australian Prime Minister.
'In fact we do. We have a very good history of treating our aborigines for example, we did not shoot them dead, we did not commit genocide,' he said, taking a dig at Australia's treatment of aborigines.
'So when making criticisms of other people, please look at your own background and temper it with some humility and that will be good for good relations.'
Otherwise, he said, 'I have no problems with Australians; they are in Malaysia in large numbers and we welcome them'.
Dr Mahathir has had highly publicised rows with former Australian leaders Paul Keating and Bob Hawke.
Mr Keating called Dr Mahathir a 'recalcitrant' for not attending the 1993 Apec summit and Mr Hawke upset him when he called the hanging of two Australian drug traffickers 'barbaric'.
Australia joined other Western countries in describing as anti-Semitic Dr Mahathir's recent comments in which he said Jews ruled the world by proxy.
When asked for his opinion of Dr Mahathir yesterday, Mr Howard said their relationship was one of 'strict cordiality'. He refused to comment on Dr Mahathir's political career. -- Nirmal Ghosh